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Tarantulas: Science Fiction Stars Gone Wild

Almost everyone can identify a tarantula. The fierce-looking, hairy spiders can grow as large as dinner plates and cause arachnophobic homeowners to hug their chandeliers. They are pests to some and pets to others, and if you live in Texas, you’ll probably encounter one sooner or later. If you’re unlucky, you may find one in your yard. If your luck is even worse, one might decide to slip into your home unnoticed. In either case, you should be prepared.

What to do if You Encounter a Tarantula

First, relax. Finding a huge, hairy spider is disturbing, but tarantulas aren’t the dangerous monsters many people think they are. Compared to some of their fellow arachnids, they’re not very dangerous. They have fangs, but they rarely bite unless it’s in self-defense. If a tarantula does bite you, it would hurt like a bee sting, and you might have some mild swelling. Unless you’re severely allergic to the spider’s venom, a tarantula isn’t going to be the cause of your demise.

Don’t Push Your Luck

Don’t get too comfortable, though. When you find a tarantula, keep your distance, and don’t intimidate it. If it’s unable to withdraw or retreat, it will put on a show to try to scare you. It will face you, raise up on its hind legs and stretch out its front legs so that it looks really big, aggressive and dangerous. The threatening posture makes this timid spider look like something from a science fiction movie. If the Spielberg special effects don’t work, the tarantula has a second line of defense. It will brush its hind legs against its abdomen to dislodge tiny hairs that it will then kick in your direction. The hairs act as irritants to human skin, eyes and mucous membranes. They can cause a painful or itchy skin rash. If this defense fails, the tarantula may bite if it can get close enough.

Tarantulas are more fragile than they appear, and killing one with insecticide or blunt force isn’t difficult. However, since they pose little danger and can even help by killing less desirable bugs and rodents, you may want to simply relocate your intruder. From a safe distance, use a long object to coax the spider gently into a deep glass jar, so you can deliver it to a new location. Do not attempt these maneuvers from a chandelier.

Call the Experts at ABC Pest Control

At ABC, we’ve been helping San Antonio homeowners manage spiders for 60 years. Our knowledgeable technicians can identify potential entry points and devise a comprehensive pest prevention plan, so you can sleep without dreaming of big, hairy tarantulas in your closet. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

Les Stobart

Les joined ABC in 2008 as the Director of Marketing, overseeing marketing, advertising, and communications for ABC’s branches. Les started the Lean Line, Online Chat departments, and manages corporate recruiting. He has a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Advertising from Lamart University. He has been part of the Texas Banking Association, a Financial Literacy Volunteer Teacher, ABC Kite Fest Board of Directors, a Town & Country Youth Soccer Coach, and a Neighborhood Sports flag football coach.

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